The spring semester begins this week at NC State with classes resuming on Wednesday. This will give the Wolfpack coaches the opportunity to welcome five new members to the football squad. Pack Pride has confirmed that OL Ahmad Jaradat, LB Dwayne Maddox, DT Kyle Linney, CB Dominique Ellis and WR Geron James will all begin classes in a couple of days. Per NCAA rules, NC State can count all five players towards last year's scholarship numbers which means the Pack can theoretically sign 25 additional players in the class of 2008. Pack Pride takes a look at what each of the early enrollees will bring to NC State.
After landing DE Markus Kuhn from Germany last year, the Pack went international again and picked up a commitment from OL Ahmad Jaradat. Born in Kuwait, Jaradat moved to London, Ontario in 1990 and established himself as one of Canada's top high school offensive linemen in 2007.
At 6-4, 290 pounds, Jaradat has all the physical skills to grow into a major contributor for the Pack and his early enrollment should jumpstart his career with NC State. He is considered raw and it will take some time for him to adjust to the jump in talent level. Jaradat will start off at center for State and that was clearly a position that the Wolfpack coaches were looking to address in the recruiting class of 2008.
Jaradat committed to NC State on his official visit in December over interest from Colorado, Connecticut and Iowa.
No position was more critical for NC State in 2007 than linebacker. The first to make his pledge to the Pack was Dwayne Maddox from Crest High School in Shelby. He chose State over offers from Clemson, Alabama, South Carolina, UNC and East Carolina.
Rated a three star prospect and the No. 12 player in North Carolina by Scout.com, Maddox tallied 169 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks and 14 QB hurries en route to all-state honors. He was also named Big South defensive player of the year and was selected to the Shrine Bowl.
At 6-2, 220 pounds and boasting 4.65-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Maddox is an instinctive linebacker with solid fundamentals for the position. He runs and tackles well and his early start at NC State will give him every opportunity to see the field as a freshman next season.
DT Kyle Linney is a carry over recruit from the Chuck Amato regime. Linney originally committed to the Pack way back in November of 2006 over offers from East Carolina and South Carolina and interest from UNC and Clemson. However, he didn't qualify and spent this past season at Hargrave Military Academy.
As a senior at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, NC, Linney tallied 67 tackles and was an all-conference and Shrine Bowl selection. He looked particularly effective in the Shrine Bowl and consistently created penetration into the backfield, making one tackle for loss and forcing several QB hurries.
At 6-2, 285 pounds, Linney plays with a non-stop motor and shows good intensity for a big man. He is quick coming off the ball and was difficult for linemen to handle on the high school level.
Linney will need to get stronger, particularly in his lower body and the chance to participate in off-season workouts should work wonders in that department. It remains to be seen whether Linney will contribute in 2008 but it's only a matter of time before the three -star prospect becomes a regular along the defensive line.
Like Linney, CB Dominique Ellis from East Wake High School in Wendell, NC originally committed to the previous coaching staff back in July of 2006 over offers from UNC, East Carolina and South Carolina. He proved to be one of the state's best defensive backs that year- tallying 75 tackles, five interceptions and four special team's touchdowns en route to being named to the Shrine Bowl.
At the Shrine Bowl, Ellis continued his impressive play by coming away with defensive MVP honors for the North Carolina squad after tallying five tackles.
After failing to qualify originally, Ellis shored up his academics in 2007. He is now at 6-0, 190 pounds and will begin his career at cornerback for NC State. Rated a three-star prospect by Scout, Ellis was routinely put in charge of shutting down the other team's best receiver in high school and he rarely disappointed. That potential and an early head-start should serve Ellis well as he begins his journey as a division one defensive back. The one caveat with Ellis may be his size. If he continues to add bulk it's not impossible that he could be moved to safety at some point.
In one game, WR Geron James flashed the brilliance many envisioned when he committed to NC State back in January of 2005. Against Florida State as a redshirt freshman, James made a couple of phenomenal catches, including a 10-yard touchdown reception that helped State defeat the Noles. In all, James tallied four catches for 91 yards that day in his best outing for the Pack.
However, things didn't progress the way James planned after that and he left the Wolfpack program in January of last year.
Now at 6-4, 225 pounds, James spent the past 12 months rededicating himself off the field and begins his new career in Raleigh with a clean slate.
If James follows through with his commitment, the sky is the limit. He has limitless ability and potential and simply needs to remain consistently dedicated to become a major player for the Pack. Should James prove to coach O'Brien and his staff that he is serious about playing football for the Pack then there's no reason why he can't become a go-to receiver for State in 2008.